Joash begins to reign when seven years old, and reigns well all the days of Jehoiada the priest, 1-3. He purposes to repair the temple of God; and makes a proclamation that the people should bring in the money prescribed by Moses, 4-9. They all contribute liberally; and the different artificers soon perfect the work, 10-13. The rest of the money is employed to form utensils for the temple, 14. Jehoiada dies, 15,16. And the people after his death become idolaters, 17,18. Prophets are sent unto them, 19. And among the rest Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, who testifies against them; and they stone him to death, 20-22. The Syrians come against Jerusalem, and spoil it, 23,24. Joash is murdered by his own servants, 25,26. His acts, 27.
Notes on Chapter 24
Joash was seven years old
As he was hidden six years in the temple, and was but seven when he came to the throne, he could have been but one year old when he was secreted by his aunt; see on 2 Chronicles 22:10.
To repair the house of the Lord.
During the reigns of Joram and Athaliah, the temple of God had been pillaged to enrich that of Baal, and the whole structure permitted to fall into decay; see 2 Chronicles 24:7.
Gather of all Israel money
As the temple was the property of the whole nation, and the services performed in it were for the salvation of the people at large, it was right that each should come forward on an occasion of this kind, and lend a helping hand. This is the first instance of such a general collection for building or repairing a house of God.
From year to year
It must have been in a state of great dilapidation, when it required such annual exertions to bring it into a thorough state of repair.
The collection-of Moses
This was the poll-tax, fixed by Moses, of half a shekel, which was levied on every man from twenty years old and upward; and which was considered as a ransom for their souls, that there might be no plague among them. See Exodus 30:12-14.
They made a chest
See Clarke on 2 Kings 12:4.
They buried him-among the kings
He had, in fact, been king in Judah; for Joash, who appears to have been a weak man, was always under his tutelage. Jehoiada governed the state in the name of the king; and his being buried among the kings is a proof of the high estimation in which he was held among the people.
The princes of Judah-made obeisance to the king
I believe the Targum has given the true sense of this verse: "After the death of Jehoiada, the great men of Judah came and adored King Joash, and seduced him; and then the king received from them their idols."
And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah
"When he saw the transgression of the king and of the people, burning incense to an idol in the house of the sanctuary of the Lord, on the day of expiation; and preventing the priests of the Lord from offering the burnt-offerings, sacrifices, daily oblations, and services, as written in the book of the law of Moses; he stood above the people, and said."-Targum.
Stoned him-at the commandment of the king
What a most wretched and contemptible man was this, who could imbrue his hands in the blood of a prophet of God, and the son of the man who had saved him from being murdered, and raised him to the throne! Alas, alas! Can even kings forget benefits? But when a man falls from God, the devil enters into him; and then he is capable of every species of cruelty.
The Lord look upon it, and require it.
And so he did; for, at the end of that year, the Syrians came against Judah, destroyed all the princes of the people, sent their spoils to Damascus; and Joash, the murderer of the prophet, the son of his benefactor, was himself murdered by his own servants. Here was a most signal display of the Divine retribution.
On the subject of the death of this prophet the reader is requested to refer to the note on Matthew 23:34,35.
These are they that conspired against him
The two persons here mentioned were certainly not Jews; the mother of one was an Ammonitess, and the mother of the other was a Moabitess. Who their fathers were we know not; they were probably foreigners and aliens. Some suppose that these persons were of the king's chamber, and therefore could have the easiest access to him. It has been, and is still, the folly of kings to have foreigners for their valets and most confidential servants, and they have often been the causes of murders and treacheries of different kinds. Foreigners should be banished from the person of the sovereign by strong and efficient laws: even in this country they have often been the cause of much political wo.
The greatness of the burdens laid upon him
Meaning, probably, the heavy tribute laid upon him by the Syrians; though some think the vast sums amassed for the repairs of the temple are here intended.
Written in the story
midrash, the commentary, of the book of Kings. We have met with this before; but these works are all lost, except the extracts found in Kings, Chronicles, and Ezra. These abridgments were the cause of the neglect, and finally of the destruction, of the originals. This has been often the case in works of great consequence. Trogus Pompeius wrote a general history of the world, which he brought down to the reign of Augustus, in forty-four volumes. Justin abridged them into one volume, and the original is lost.